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baby blanket

  • One-Skein Baby Projects

    Please welcome our Guest Blogger, Sharon Silverman.  Sharon is the author of Crochet Refresher, Tunisian Crochet Baby Blankets, Tunisian Shawls, and most recently One-Skein Baby Projects.  Her very popular Heirloom Frame Crochet Blanket ePattern gets rave reviews on LeisureArts.com.  She has two brand new ePatterns that you can be among the first to download.  They are a Mosaic Blanket ePattern and a Lacy Crescent Shawl.  Sharon is here today to tell us about her latest Leisure Arts Book: One-Skein Baby Projects.  

    “Good things come in small packages,” the saying goes, and that’s certainly true for babies and for crochet projects.  My goal for One-Skein Baby Projects was to create adorable designs that crocheters could whip up for a special little baby without a large investment of time or money. I’m delighted that Leisure Arts was on board with the concept and gave me the go-ahead.

    Photo 1, book cover One-Skein Baby Projects book cover.

    The first part of my design process was to decide what items to focus on, and to select yarn for each project. I was inspired by Bonbons and Vanna’s Palettes. Both are mini-skein sets from Lion Brand. So cute to have all of those colors in one package! Those seemed ideal for toys.

    Photo 2, Pretzel Rattle Pretzel Rattle

    I used Vanna’s Palettes for the Pretzel Rattle. Why a pretzel? I should probably confess that pretzels have fascinated me ever since I wrote a travel guidebook about my home state, Pennsylvania Snacks: Your Guide to Food Factory Tours. I learned that Lititz, Lancaster County is home to the first commercial pretzel bakery in America, and that the history of the pretzel extends as far back as 610 A.D. That’s the first documented instance of European monks rewarding children who had memorized their Bible verses and prayers with a pretiola, Latin for “little reward.”

    A pretzel-shaped rattle has other advantages, too: lots of places for baby to hold on, and holes that are perfect for peek-a-boo.

    Safety is always my top priority when designing baby items. For the rattle, I used an unopened tube of beads completely encased in clear, waterproof packing tape. It’s positioned in the middle of fiberfill stuffing so it’s completely hidden from view, from feel—and from little teeth. Unless an elephant steps on the rattle and then a tiger rips the packing tape and the bead tube to shreds, the beads pose no danger.  (If you are in regular contact with an elephant and a tiger, omit the bead rattle—although a choking hazard may be the least of your worries.)  

    Bouncy Block uses Lion Brand Bonbons for a bright-colored, highly textured cube that’s fun for little hands.

    Photo 3, Bouncy Block Bouncy Block

    I think crocheters will enjoy making this because each side is different. Instead of fiberfill stuffing, I used washable cotton batting because it is denser and keeps the block nice and plump while retaining its shape.

    Every baby needs a “lovey” to cuddle and snuggle with. The Snow Bear Lovey (Bernat Baby Sport and Patons Astra) is a sweet bear-and-blanket combination. I chose a textured stitch pattern on the blanket to keep it interesting for crocheters and for babies. The head, muzzle, nose, ears, and arms are made separately, then assembled and attached to the center of the blanket. The ears are definitely my favorite part of the Snow Bear’s head. Something about them makes me go, “Awww…”

    Photo 4, Snow Bear Lovey

    Once the toys were finished, I worked on baby garments from head to toe—literally!—the Bubble Hat (Red Heart Anne Geddes Baby), Ribbed Vest (Caron Simply Soft), and Booties for Cuties (Red Heart Baby TLC).

    My own children are in their twenties now and hence no longer suitable models for baby gear, so it was thrilling to see the smiling little boy wearing the Bubble Hat and the Ribbed Vest in Leisure Arts’ photos. Way to make my work look good, buddy!

    The hat is sized for 0-3 months, 6 months, and 12 months; the vest is sized for 0-3 months and 3-6 months.

    Baby Bubble Hat Bubble Hat
    Baby Ribbed Vest Ribbed Vest

    Booties for Cuties are designed to keep little tootsies warm. High cuffs cover the ankle and keep the footwear right where it belongs. This project is sized for 3-6 months and 6-9 months.

    Baby Crochet Booties for Cuties Pink Booties for Cuties - Pink
    Crochet Baby Booties for Cuties Blue Booties for Cuties - Blue

    One other garment, the Hibiscus Top in Lion Brand LB Cotton Bamboo, has very recently been published as a stand-alone ePattern by Leisure Arts on its website.

    Crochet Hibiscus Top Hibiscus Top

    Every parent will tell you that you can never have too many bibs or washcloths. The final three projects in the leaflet are two bibs and a set of washcloths.

    The Bright & Easy Bib (Patons Grace) is worked in single crochet so it’s nice and dense. The ties are worked as part of the neckline so there’s no chance they can come loose.

    Crochet Bright & Easy Bib for Baby Bright & Easy Bib

    The Pullover Bib (Bernat Handicrafter Cotton) has a stretchy neckline that makes it easy to get on and off. A variation on single crochet produces a tight weave to keep messes from getting through. This bib is sized for head circumference 14” and for 16”.

    Baby Pullover Bib to Crochet Pullover Bib

    Sunshine Washcloths (Lily Sugar ’n Cream) brighten up baby’s nursery or bath. Thick and thirsty cluster stitches make these quick cloths pretty and practical. Make a few, roll up and tie with ribbon, and pop them in a basket with baby toiletries for a charming shower gift.

    Baby Crochet Sunshine Washcloth Sunshine Washcloth

    It was a pleasure working with Leisure Arts on One-Skein Baby Projects. Along with doing the editing and photography, they added helpful video links to the patterns. What a great way for crocheters to learn something new or to get reacquainted with a technique they haven’t used in a while. In the past I’ve written Tunisian Crochet Baby Blankets, Tunisian Shawls, and Crochet Refresher for Leisure Arts; another leaflet, Easy Afghans, will be published this spring. They also offer some standalone ePatterns of my work on their site.

    My hope for One-Skein Baby Projects is that relatively new crocheters will find easy items to suit their skill level, experienced crocheters will enjoy exciting stitch patterns and techniques to hold their interest, and that the finished projects will put a smile on the faces of babies and their parents.

    One-Skein Baby Projects Table of Contents Table of Contents

    To tell you a little bit about me, I’m a lifelong crafter who switched gears from travel writing to crochet design after I rediscovered my love of crochet about ten years ago. I’m a professional member of the Crochet Guild of America and a design member of The National NeedleArts Association. I was a featured guest on HGTV’s fiber arts program, “Uncommon Threads,” and have been interviewed on numerous radio podcasts. Recently I expanded my crochet work to include large-scale museum installations, indoors and out. I love to travel and explore the outdoors, especially with my husband, Alan, and our two grown sons. So far I have visited 48 states, 5 Canadian provinces, and 9 European countries. You can find me on Facebook and Pinterest at Sharon Silverman Crochet; on Ravelry at CrochetSharon; and on my website, www.SharonSilverman.com. I would love to hear from you!

    Happy crocheting!

    Photo 14, Sharon Silverman Sharon Silverman
  • Baby Washcloths Part Two

    Baby Washcloths to Knit

    Alright the knitting part of my baby washcloths is done. What am I going to do with all 9 of them? I am going to crochet them together and make a baby blanket. I got the pattern for the washcloths out of the book from Leisure Arts called Baby Washcloths to Knit by Melissa Bergland Burnham. It took me a few tries to get it all worked out and it to look how I wanted it to look. It only a couple hours to finish it once I sat still long enough. A lot of procrastination went into this project. I started this project back in May. Then my ADHD kicked in. I think that I was worried how it would turn out. I get ideas for projects some work out some do not. I am so happy that this one turned out so well.

    Crochet HookIMG_7889

    After I tucked in all my ends on the washcloths, I placed all 9 washcloths out and into 3 rows. Again I used white Egyptian cotton for this project. Then I began crocheting the sides of the washcloths together with a single crochet until I had 3 panels. I then crocheted again using a single crochet a panel on the top and the bottom through the cast on row and cast/bind off row. Make sure before you crochet together that once not upside down or wrong sided. When all this was done I then used a yellow Egyptian cotton to do a simple border. I did a single crochet around the blanket and 3 single crochets on the corner turn and 3 single crochets into the first stitch. This gives it a nice rounded edge. This is for a boy so I didn’t want to do anything frilly.

    FullSizeRender (28) Front
    Back Back

    There is another washcloth book that I want to make a blanket out of and that is Dishcloths for Special Days by Julie A. Ray. I thought how cool it would be to make a baby’s first blanket. Do it in all different colors like a patchwork quilt. The important thing to remember is to make sure that you buy and use the same type of yarn but in different colors. Why? It is important because all your pieces will be the same size and easy to piece together.

    FullSizeRender (31)FullSizeRender (30)

  • Knitting a Sweet Basket Weave Blanket

    I finished it!  I finished knitting the Basket Weave blanket pattern from Precious Knit Blankies for Baby in time to give it my cousin-in-law at her baby shower this weekend.

    I was almost immediately outshone by an aunt who made a full-sized quilt and hand-quilted it, but whatever.  We're here to talk about this little knit blanket.

    Full disclosure: the quilt was beautiful. 

    Okay.  The blanket!  Like I said last time, this is knitted on #10 needles with two strands of worsted weight yarn held double.  My joints haven't entirely recovered, but that doesn't take away from the loveliness of this little blanket.  But I will say that I would probably move up to #10 1/2 needles if I made this again.  This is a dense knitted fabric, and a little more looseness would probably be fine.  It would also cut down on some of the yarn wrestling.  This took less yarn than I expected, and I get to take my 'insurance skein' back to the store.  Or maybe not.  This is still my new favorite yarn color and I think it pairs beautifully with browns and reds.

    Or at least that's what I thought when I staged it against this reddish-brown dresser.

    One thing I would change, though, is small but worth mentioning.  The instructions tell you to end on Row 2 or Row 8 of the body before you move on to the garter stitch border.  It's a purl row.  DON'T DO IT!  End on Row 1 or Row 7, which is a knit row.  Working that row of purls in the body leaves you with a visible row of stockinette before you move on to the garter stitch border.  This doesn't happen at the beginning of the pattern.

    Perfect!

    And that one little row keeps the basket weave pattern from moving straight to the garter stitch border, which makes your top and bottom edges inconsistent and doesn't look as put-together(or so I think). 

    Less than perfect.

    It's a small detail, but it's one that will probably wake me up in the middle of the night with fury and humiliation.  I didn't realize the extent of the mistake until it was too late.  When I pointed the problem out to a couple of friends, they kindly asked "Do you think a normal person would really have a problem with this?"  Probably not.  I certainly didn't point it out to anyone at the shower!  But I thought I'd let you know if you planned on knitting this yourself.  Which I totally still recommend.  This is a great blanket! 

    And I like how puffy the knitted sections look.  The only thing that would make this look better (aside from that other thing) would be if this had a baby to go with it.  But that's a problem that will be taken care of soon enough.  I can't wait.

  • A Sweet Bit of Sunshine

    I'm crocheting the Sunshine pattern from Blankets for Toddlers.  So far, so good!

    This is one of those patterns where you make a chain, work your set-up row, and then crochet the same row for a million eternities or until you reach your desired length.  This is excellent murder mystery TV crocheting.  Just absolutely fantastic.  I'm making this for some friends' niece, who is a small baby.  This is supposed to be 45" long, but that seems like a bit much for someone who is not actually a toddler.  So I'll probably work on this until it's as long as it is wide and work a quick single crochet border around this in bright pink.  It's going to be great. 

    I picked this pattern because I love shells.  I love crocheting them.  I love the way they look. 

    And I love that the pattern is named "Sunshine."  I know light purple is more of a sunrise or sunset thing, but I like it for this blanket.  I have three skeins and this pattern will use up all of them.  It's just about the perfect yardage requirement, so now you know.  Three skeins of Red Heart Super Saver = one blanket. 

    Oh!  I can't believe I'm just thinking to mention this!  You could need more.  Each of the patterns in Blankets for Toddlers have instructions on how to modify the blanket to be crocheted with one strand of yarn, or with two strands held double.  Then you would need more yarn.  An afghan crocheted with two strands would be great for play pallets or toddlers who live in chillier climates.   It sounds fluffy!  And like an excellent stashbuster. 

    I'm more than happy to stick with my one little strand of yarn, though.  I'm making good progress and I think I'll have this finished pretty soon--maybe even by the end of this weekend!

    Good luck with your works-in-progress this week!

  • WIP Wednesday: So Many Babies. So Many Baby Projects.

    Babies.  Babies everywhere.  There are babies being born all over the dadgummed place and there are baby showers popping up everywhere and I have TWO baby showers next weekend.  I am well-prepared for one of them.  But for that other one....well, I need to get ready for that other one.  I want to make a hat, maybe a little sweater (this is for a relative!), and a blanket.  I don't know yet what patterns I want to use for little baby clothes, but for the blanket I'm knitting the Basket Weave Blankie from Precious Knit Blankies for Baby.

     

    Yes, another basket weave blanket.

    I had intended to feature other baby blanket posts in between the last baby blanket and this one, but if I'd done that I wouldn't be behind on my baby projects and then I probably wouldn't be me.  Or something.  Because I had definitely planned on making this lovely blanket, but now I'm just talking about to you sooner than anticipated.

     

    I love a good basket weave pattern, and this is one lovely little blanket.  It's knitted on #10 needles and with two strands of yarn held double.  The pattern is simple to memorize and if you like basket weave knitting patterns, this is probably up your alley.  The finished product will be about 28" X 32", and will use up nearly 1,000 yards of yarn.  Good thing I have some insurance yarn tucked away.  I have an extra skein of Red Heart Super Saver in Real Teal for my African Flower Motif Square Afghan just in case the three skeins I purchased for this aren't enough.  This is currently my favorite color.

    This is 100% acrylic yarn, which will wash easily.  I think I could have gone up to #10 1/2 needles, because this is dense.  Not stiff--but dense.  It's a little bothersome to wrestle with on the #10 needles, but that's just what happens when you hold your yarn double.  For someone who supposedly doesn't enjoy knitting or crocheting with two strands of yarn, I've done it a lot this summer.  But I think I'll take a break from it after this project.  Nothing against this pattern--it's going beautifully and knitting up quickly.  The main part is already 6 1/2" long and I've only knitted through the twelve-row pattern repeat two and a half times! 

    This is what the other side looks like, by the way.

    No, I just think I'd like to work on some smaller projects with just one strand of yarn.  That's all.  I have just a few more baby projects to finish up before next month and then I can get down to the business of knitting and crocheting other projects.  I want to finish up my afghans, and I have wild dreams of knitting some matching cardigans for my daughter and my nephew.  I even have the yarn picked out!

    I just have to get through this first.  I don't think it will take me too very long.  Next weekend will be here before I know it, and I plan to take this project with me everywhere for the next few days!

  • A Bright Basket Weave Blanket

    I knitted the Basket Weave pattern from Car Seat Blankets.  It's every bit as precious as I'd hoped it would be.

    I knitted this almost exactly as the instructions told me to.  Modifications are my second nature, but I followed this almost to the very letter of the law.  I changed the colors, but everyone changes the colors (right? Right?!!).  And I skipped a pattern repeat because this seemed big enough for a little car seat blanket.  Other than that, I stayed faithful to the instructions.  Worsted weight yarn.  Four colors. #8 needles.  Weaving in all those ends.

    The basket weave patterning is lovely.  I think it might have been just as lovely in only one color, but it's a little late for that now.  It's fine.  I wove in my ends on a car trip, and now it's done and I survived.  It's a lovely little lovey and I hope it's well-received and well-loved. 

    I had a great time making it.  Car seat blankets are smaller than your standard baby blanket.  You could wrap one around a small baby if you really needed to, but they're really made to cover up a little person in a car seat.  You can't buckle a bundled up baby into a car seat, but throwing a blanket over some little legs to keep away cold or rain is still safe and wholesome and cozy.  And since it's a smaller blanket, it knits up pretty quickly!  It's a simple stitch pattern that's pretty easy to memorize and the finished product is delightful.

    I love this little blanket.  I love the look of the basket weave.  I love the stripes.  I love the garter stitch border.  It's a great baby blanket, and a great pattern, and I know I'm going to make it again.

  • Knitting a Summery Stripey Blanket!

    I'm still working on the Basket Weave pattern from Car Seat Blankets and I love it.  I haven't shown you a picture of this project since it looked like this:

    That was a while ago, and I am very pleased with how it's turning out.  It's for a friend's nephew, and I'm hoping this blows his mind.  The friend, that is.  I'm not sure how much babies care about handknits one way or another.  But I do think that the bright colors will go over really well.  I love bright colors for little developing eyes, and I think these colors are perfect.

    They're pretty summery looking, which I enjoy because I started working on this in July.  And this stripey blanket will brighten up a dreary winter day for sure.

    This is worsted weight yarn and I'm using #8 needles.  I'm not sure if I'll work all of the pattern repeats or not.  I'm supposed to work the four-stripe pattern 5 times and I think that might make this little blanket too long.  It's going to be fine regardless, and I'm not especially concerned with it.  What I'm more preoccupied by is dealing with the aftermath of all these stripes.

    Whoa Nelly.  I'm going to have a LOT of ends to weave in!  I knew this when I started the project, but it didn't seem like such a big deal back before I was making new pieces of fringe every six rows.  Now I'm looking at it and fretting a little bit more with every row I knit.  I may take a break from knitting to weave in some of these ends.  I'd like to keep adding rows and be finished with the knitting portion of this, but I think my future self will really appreciate it if I get a head start on some of this end-weaving now.  I guess I should rewatch this video:

    I hope your WIPs are coming along nicely this week!

  • Finishing a Precious Ribbed Blankie

     It's finished!  I finished up the Ribbed Blankie from Precious Knit Blankies for Baby in time to give it to a mother-to-be yesterday afternoon.  It was a hit!

     

    I had cast on fewer stitches than the pattern called for (I really wish I remember how many) and bound off long before the pattern called for.  This blanket is 16" X 22", and is more of a little car seat blankie than a full-size blanket.

     

    I used Caron One Pound and #8 needles, but I think I could have gone up a needle size or two because  that yarn seems a bit thick for worsted. This little blanket is solid and simple. 

    I actually tried crocheting a border around this in bright pink to add some color and detail, but then I took it out.  It didn't look quite right, and this little blanket is fine on its own.

    I love giving handmade gifts.  Even when I get a callous on my finger and a permanent cramp in my hand from so much knitting.  Even when I didn't have a chance to run this through a washer and dryer to even out this out a bit.  I know you can't really block acrylic, but a quick wash and run through a dryer can help straighten the stitches out and would help with the bumps that can appear along a bind-off edge. 

     

    I'm sure this will look better once its washed in some of that baby detergent and wrapped around a little person. 

    Handmade baby gifts always do.

  • WIP Wednesday: Knitting a Precious Ribbed Blankie

    I'm knitting the Ribbed Blankie from Precious Knit Blankies for Babies and it is so very precious!

    I've decided that this is the blanket I'll be giving as a gift this weekend, so I hope I can finish it up quickly.  I'm about a fourth of the way through it, and it's going pretty quickly.  The pattern calls for worsted weight yarn and #8 needles for a little ribbed blanket that's 26" X 32".  I cast on fewer stitches than the pattern required because....well, I just wanted to.  Blankets stretch and sag over time (something something, joke about childbearing, something something), and I'm not sure how big this thing will be.  Also, let's be honest. I'm pressed for time.

    I'm not sure why I've been so indecisive about picking out patterns and getting started on my baby shower gifts, but it's really kicking my tail now!  I have a baby shower this weekend and I have nothing ready for it!  Yesterday's pixie bonnet doesn't seem quite right for this baby, so I'll need to make some little booties or something to go along with the blanket that I still haven't finished.  Or maybe I won't need to make something extra.  Blankets take time and my time is precious and this blanket is precious because the book title wouldn't lie about that sort of thing!

    Um, that logic seemed a little less circular and a bit more logical before I typed it out.  What I am mostly saying is this:  I am once again a cautionary tale about procrastination and crafting and falling into the habit of yarncrafting for every little baby that comes along.  And while I am incredibly ticked at myself for my lack of planning, I don't think I'll stop making blankets or sweaters or hats or booties or whatever else I'm in the mood to make for every little baby whose mama's belly catches my eye.  Seriously, if we've seen each other in the past year, I'm going to feel like I should make your little one something.  Babies are precious!  They're small and helpless, but also strong and amazing.  I have no idea how they keep growing!  Parents work so hard!  They love so much and need to know that people are rooting for them (something something, breastfeeding joke, something something), and I always felt so loved when people made things for my daughter when she was a baby.

    Plus, this blanket truly is precious.  For the first four inches, I felt weird about not using variegated yarn like the model photo.   Can you imagine how great this would look with Lion Brand Amazing?!?! Because I've been imagining that a lot while I work on this.  But then the work got a little bit longer and I could see this simple ribbing a little better and the dark purple looked simple and beautiful.  I had originally considered crocheting a row or two around this in pink or gray, but now I think it's going to be perfect just as it is.  

     

    I just have to finish it so I can find out for sure!

  • Little Boy Blue: Crocheting a Sweet Granny Square Baby Blanket

    It's a good week for granny squares! I crocheted Square #49 from 99 Granny Squares to Crochet, and this granny square project looks a little different from the last time I made Square #49.

    I love this square pattern.  It works up pretty quickly, and it has some nice detail with the front post treble crochet stitches without being too fussy that you can't think about anything else while you work on it.  Which is great, because I stayed up the entire night watching murder mysteries and crocheting these squares and sewing them together for a baby shower I'm going to today!  I couldn't be more pleased!

    And by that, I mean I really like this blanket.  I don't like that I spent the night crocheting instead of sleeping, but these things happen sometimes.  Especially when you spend more than a week trying out baby afghan patterns and ruining them every single time with poor yarn choices (Dark blue?! Dark blue!!!), incorrect yardage, or plain ol' common error.  I've set an unfortunate precedent of giving yarncraft baby gifts at my work, and now would not be a good time to bow out.  Since I was short on time and skill (man, I hope my ability to follow a pattern comes back soon!), I went with a cute granny square pattern that I knew I could handle. 

     

    I used an I hook and some Red Heart yarn because I firmly believe that baby blankets should be made from acrylic yarn at all times.  Even when people appreciate super fancy gifts made with natural fibers and would normally be fine with special washing instructions, I'm hesitant to give a new parent something that requires special care.  People with new children have enough in their lives that requires special care, and sometimes babies do things to blankets (sweaters/hats/lovies) that can only be helped with some strong detergent and high heat.  Red Heart gets softer every time you wash it, and lasts for decades.  Plus, I think these colors are pretty.  After seaming the squares together, I crocheted a single crochet border around the blanket.  One row was gray to tie everything together a little more, and the last row was the light blue to perk things up a bit.  If you're curious, I used Blue Suede, Turqua, and Grey Heather.

    And I was pretty thrilled that when I joked with my husband about picking up a skein of gray yarn while he was out running errands, he actually picked up a skein of gray yarn!  I can always use some more gray yarn, but I didn't think I'd use up a whole skein on this!  However, I totally did and I started in on the second skein for the last two squares.  The new skein of gray yarn was a little lighter than the other skein, so I placed those lighter squares in corners across from each other diagonally so the difference would look intentional. 

    Let's pretend like I planned every aspect of this from the very beginning and I wanted this particular blanket all along.  And maybe I did! 

    Fine, I didn't.  But I'm thrilled with how this turned out and I'm glad I had such a good time making this.  But how could I not?  After all, there are granny squares.

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